Posted On: 12/01/2013
2712 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.771.6358, Facebook: Melt
It’s nearly morning, and Melt’s bar is at capacity. After two sips of my first drink, I know the reason why.
Cocktails are a grand affair at Melt, the Cherokee Street newcomer that migrated north from the Patch neighborhood a few months back. The craft booze-comfort food concept is familiar enough, but the delivery at this place in both of these areas is more than noteworthy. And though Melt seems ideal for brunch, its midnight movie screenings, live bands and weekend hours (open until 3 a.m.), give the joint a serious after-hours draw.
What to Drink Nothing combats the rigors of cold and flu season like a stiff shot of whiskey. First-timers should opt for the Hayes Street, a classic rye whiskey Manhattan touched with the perfect amount of sweet vermouth. Meticulous pours and near obsessive fawning by the bartenders in residence mean a bit of a wait for orders to be filled, but the product is worth the time. The cocktail menu features time-tested standards (including, arguably, one of the finest bloody marys in town) as well as odd specialty numbers. Some of these are successful, such as the Eve’s Leaf pomegranate Mojito. Others less so: A lavender martini dubbed “Doll Parts” was about as detestable as a long night out with Courtney Love. During warm months, the cocktail selection is regularly infused with inventive and impressively potent specials like Beer Berry Lemonade and Hendrick’s The Cucumber. Though unavailable on a return visit, Melt also occasionally features the Mia Wallace, a rich, bourbon-laden $5 shake. Beer choices run the gamut with everything from college binge drinker (cans of Natty Light) to grad school chic (750-milliliter bottles of Perennial Saison De Lis). The bar also offers a number of nonalcoholic smoothie options, as well as ice creams, shakes and a full selection of coffees, espressos and teas.
What to Eat It seems like everything around town comes with an optional egg on top. Regardless, I was surprised when our server suggested one to accompany the Little Piggy, a thin house-made waffle smothered in a salty pile of barbecued pulled pork, light coleslaw and shredded cheddar. I opted for the standard Buttermilk Haus Batter, which proved not too sweet. On the sugary side, one would do well to embrace the Psycho Monkey waffle with its chocolate sauce, peanut butter and thick chunks of banana. This paired exceedingly well (as suggested) with a Wells & Young Banana Bread Beer. Still, the real standout (and naturally the most wasted-sounding item on a menu of upscale drunk food) was the Wake n’ Bake, which came with both bacon and sausage baked in the waffle and topped with eggs and a spatter of cheddar.
What to look for Expect a madcap crew of characters in a madcap environment. The patrons (who are pretty tame and generally young) enjoy the comforts of a converted shoe store packed with intentionally mismatched, vintage seats and wacky quilted couches – to the sounds of music like Nina Simone and Pearl Jam. Dominating nearly the whole wall next to the bar is a chalkboard version of the menu – except the cocktails, which are listed instead on stained little handouts on each table. On another wall, next to nostalgically outdated (but functional) pinball machines, customers can scribble their own musings on a floor-to-ceiling blackboard. The bar itself, a straightforward wooden number, has mismatched coffee cups hanging from wall art on one side and a giant mobile of glass coffee pots precariously dangling above it.
Transient boozehounds, casual date-night couples and coffee-shop kids alike have plenty to take in at Melt, which is a solid addition to the continually flourishing scene on Cherokee.
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